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Print-ready PDF: A Complete Guide with Steps

Commercial printing is an important part of many industries. Especially in the print industry, the files need to be perfect when given for mass printing.

Files that are not designed or prepared well enough for commercial printing can affect both the document and the print outcome with problems such as color distortion, crop marks, missing text, and so on.

This is where a press-quality PDF is required for converting into an optimized format that is flexible for all commercial printing purposes.

This blog will introduce you to what Print Ready PDF is and the necessary steps you can take to have the document converted into a press-quality file. Besides that, a practical PDF editor will also be mentioned before printing PDF files. Check it out.

Part 1. What is a Print-ready PDF?

A Print Ready PDF is a technical term used for implying that the PDF document has been converted in such a way that it can be printed effectively by commercial printers. Since PDF is the most preferred format for printing purposes as it includes all important components like fonts, color, etc., you will hear this term used often in the print industry.  In a nutshell, it describes a file that should be of ‘press quality’ to avoid any issues while printing.

The functions of a Print Ready PDF consist of correct sizing of the file, adjusting the photo resolution, optimizing font quality, adjusting crop marks, avoiding any color distortion, etc.

what is print-ready pdf

Part 2. Differences Among Print-ready & Print to & Save As PDF

To avoid any confusion, let us clear up the major difference between "Print Ready", "Save As", and "Print to", when we view the options in a PDF file.

  • Save As: It means that the original PDF version of the document is saved and it can be converted into another format if needed.
  • Print to: It means to print exactly the current PDF version and you would often preview it on the app first before printing it.
  • Print Ready: Otherwise called a press-ready PDF means it will be converted into a format where it would contain the right colors for painting purposes, and all the texts, borders, etc., will be modified for successful printing. Just think of it as an upgraded and optimized version of printing when compared to the “Print to” option.

Part 3. A PDF-Editor Wildcard to Make Your Files Print-Ready

Now that you have understood the differences and know the importance of a Print Ready PDF, let us explore the steps you can take to find this option and get your PDF ready for commercial printing.

In daily life, some users store PDF files on their phones while others prefer storing documents on desktops. In such a case, there is a universal tool that can solve all your PDF needs and have your document ready for Press Quality.

Introducing, UPDF — a powerful PDF software that allows you to comfortably view your PDF file, edit them, annotate them, organize them, and print them efficiently.

Follow the steps below to get your PDF ready for printing using UPDF:

Step 1. Download and install UPDF on your computer or smartphone. Then, upload the PDF file to UPDF.

Step 2. Click on the file and choose "Print…" > "Microsoft Print to PDF", and customize the settings before printing.

That’s all - simple and effortless. This software is user-friendly and beginners don’t need any prior technical knowledge to use this tool effectively. Besides, UPDF also has many advanced features:

  • Advanced annotation tools
  • Wide range of reading modes
  • Seamless editing tools
  • Robust document protection
  • Convenient conversion to various formats
  • Optimizing or reducing the PDF file size
  • Inserting a PDF into multiple PDF files batch

Part 4. Create a High-resolution Print-ready PDF with Adobe

Some users might have Adobe Acrobat or other Adobe applications installed on their computers, so they can simply take advantage of these apps to create print-ready PDFs. Next, we will explore where you can find these options.

3.1 Using Adobe Acrobat

Step 1. In your Adobe Acrobat, head over to File, then Save as Other, and then click on the option Press-Ready PDF (PDF/X).

Step 2. A new dialog will appear asking you to Save As PDF. Click on Settings.

Step 3. Another dialog (Preflight) will appear. Select the option Save as PDF/X-4. And finally, click OK.

Adobe Print-ready PDF

3.2 Using Adobe Illustrator

Step 1. In your Adobe Illustrator, head over to File, then click on Save a Copy.

Step 2. Head over to Format and change it to Adobe PDF (pdf). Name your file and click on Save.

Step 3. A Save Adobe PDF dialog will appear. Under Adobe PDF Preset, select [Press Quality] from the drop-down list.

Step 4. Under the Marks and Bleeds section on the left-hand side of the dialog, check the box Trim Marks.

Step 5. Finally, click on Save PDF.

Adobe Illustrator Print-ready PDF

3.3 Using Adobe InDesign

Step 1. In your Adobe InDesign, head over to File and click on Export.

Step 2. In the dialog, select the format Adobe PDF (Print). Name your file and click on Save.

Step 3. An Export Adobe PDF dialog will appear. Under the Adobe PDF Preset, select [Press Quality] (modified) from the drop-down list.

Step 4. Under the Marks and Bleeds section on the left-hand side of the dialog, check the box Crop Marks.

Step 5. Lastly, click on Export.

choose press quality

3.4 Using Adobe Photoshop

Step 1. In your Adobe Photoshop, head over to File, and click on Save As.

Step 2. The Save Adobe PDF dialog will appear. Under Adobe PDF Preset, select [Press Quality] from the drop-down list.

Step 3. Below that, you will find a menu called Standard. Select the option PDF/X-1a:2001 from the drop-down list.

Step 4. On the left-hand side of the dialog, click on the Compression section, and you will find a section Options beside it. Ensure the text fields matches the parameters for the image below.

Step 5. Lastly, click on Save PDF.

choose press quality to save

Part 5. FAQs About Print-ready PDF

Q1. Are all PDFs print-ready?

Common standard PDFs are usually not print-ready. In most cases, it might contain poor-quality images and colors which can lead to low-quality prints. This is why it is manually needed to make a PDF print-ready.

Q2. Why are some PDFs not printable?

By default, you will find most PDF files opened inside the browsers, so this can cause some printing issues, for instance, PDFs viewed in Microsoft Edge. In other cases, the printer driver could be outdated which can lead to PDf printing issues. Hence, you will need to update the printer driver.

Optimize Your PDF for Press Quality Using UPDF

It is important to have your PDF print-ready to ensure smooth printing and have all the contents displayed properly. For commercial or for other purposes, this is crucial when preparing important materials.

Use UPDF today as your cross-platform editor to optimize your PDF and make it ready for high-quality printing.